Scouting the NFL Draft: Fits at Defensive Tackle | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Scouting the NFL Draft: Fits at Defensive Tackle

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    Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech (left); Hassan Ridgeway, Texas (center); Javon Hargrave, South Carolina St. (right).

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    The Cowboys shored up the majority of their needs in free agency, putting them in a position to draft players instead of positions. It's hard to have too many quality defensive tackles and several Day 2 players that would fit the Cowboys' scheme, including:

    Vernon Butler, 1T, Louisiana Tech
    Ht. 6'4", Wt. 323, Arm: 35 ⅛", Hand: 10 ¾", Bench: 26
    40 yd: 5.33, 10 yd.: 1.83, 3 Cone: 7.82, Vertical: 29.5", Broad: 8'8"

    Vernon Butler was an under-the-radar two-star recruit out of high school, but he's on the radar now. The Bulldog's anchor is rumored to be receiving first-round consideration by NFL some teams.

    • Pros: Length, power, burst, clubs for hands, anchor, awareness, motor
    • Cons: Pad level, disengaging, counter moves

    Butler played all along the Bulldogs' front, but looks like a 5- or 1-Technique in the NFL. He'd mainly be a 1-Technique for the Cowboys, who are likely crossing their fingers that he slips to their second rounder.

    Verdict: Round 2

    Hassan Ridgeway, 3T, Texas
    Ht. 6'3", Wt. 303, Arm: 33", Hand: 9 ⅜", Bench: 24
    40 yd: 5.02, 10 yd.: 1.72, 3 Cone: 8.28, Vertical: 32", Broad: 9'5"

    Hassan Ridgeway was one of the few bright spots for the Longhorns during their coaching transition from Mack Brown to Charlie Strong. The high school edge rusher kicked inside for Texas and flourished.

    • Pros: Athleticism, power, quickness, hand use, leverage, motor, anchor
    • Cons: Durability, loses ball at times, counter moves

    Ridgeway looked unblockable at times, mostly lining up as a 3-Technique and 1-Technique. Injury history and reported conditioning issues will drop him, but he flashes first-round ability as a one-gapping penetrator and a two-gapping anchor.

    Verdict: Round 2

    Javon Hargrave, 3T, South Carolina St.
    Ht. 6'1", Wt. 309, Arm: 32", Hand: 9 ⅝", Bench: 29
    40 yd: 4.93, 10 yd.: 1.70, 3 Cone: 7.90, Vertical: 34.5", Broad: 9'1"

    Javon Hargrave dominated FCS competition pretty much immediately, earning Freshman All-FCS honors in his first season. He was a highly productive and decorated player for the Bulldogs, twice being named the conference Defensive Player of the Year.

    • Pros: Quickness, burst, pad level, hands, punch, speed to power, production
    • Cons: Competition, secondary motor, size, length, instincts

    People with Hargrave's size shouldn't be able to move as quickly as he does. He was a man among boys in college, so the main question is how he'll handle NFL athletes. The way he handled himself at the East-West Shrine Game suggests he'd transition nicely as a one-gapping 3-Technique for the Cowboys.

    Verdict: Round 3

    The 2016 NFL Draft appears to have great depth at the defensive tackle position, so the Cowboys could add an impact player at the position on Day 2.